If you’ve never had a Philly cheesesteak then you don’t know what you’re missing out on, especially if you love cheese. Forget about the mac and cheese and the grilled cheese recipes you browse at work. Any self-respecting foodie and cheese lover will know that it’s all about the delectable way in which the cheese melts into the meat and then is topped off with peppers.
And, if you love this fantastic food then you’ll also know just what a divisive topic of conversation it can be, especially for locals. Ask anybody from Philly where to get the absolute best Philly cheesesteak and they’ll likely start ranting about their favorite local spot. One guy loves the sandwich so much he even spent an entire year eating 275 cheesesteaks.
However, if you’re new to the cheesy game then we’re here to dish out some details. Learn where the Philly cheesesteak originated, why it’s so popular and perhaps even where to sample a few of the absolute tastiest cheesesteaks in their home city of Philadelphia.
What’s in a Philly Cheesesteak?
Most people from out of the country seem to be confused as to what’s actually inside of a Philly cheesesteak. Unlike homemade mac and cheese, this recipe requires a few more ingredients. But, that doesn’t mean all of them are high-end. Definitely not.
A Philly cheesesteak, contrary to what some out-of-towners might think, definitely does not include Philly cheese...you know the Philadelphia cream cheese that most people spread across a bagel. Nope. It’s got thinly-sliced rib-eye beef and melted cheese. Now, from there, you’ll find that you can indulge in a few variations.
Depending on where you order it, you can get it with peppers, onions, sauteed mushrooms and sometimes even ketchup. It’s most commonly ordered in a few ways. If you order a cheesesteak “whiz with,” it means that you want it with cheese whiz and onions. If you don’t want the onions, just ask for a “whiz without.” Or, you can get it with American or Provolone cheese, usually. Just don’t expect anything fancy like cotja cheese.
Where is the Philly Cheesesteak From?
While this might seem like a silly question, some people seem to miss the fact that the Philly part of a Philly cheesesteak actually does mean the delicious sandwich originated in Philadelphia. The history of tantalizing Philly cheesesteaks actually dates back to the 1930s.
One travel site ranked the 25 best cheesesteaks in the entire city and noted that Pat Olivieri of Pat’s King of Steaks, the place that sweeped into the No. 1 spot, actually claims to have invented it. Olivieri was a hot dog vendor in Philly who grilled up some beef, layered it inside of an Italian roll and served it nearby some local cabbies.
Once all of the other taxi drivers got a whiff of what he was serving, it became a huge hit. It wasn’t until Olivieri later opened up Pat's King of Steaks on 9th Street and Passyunk Avenue that they began to serve the sandwich with cheese. So, it actually wasn’t until about the early 1940s when the full-on modern-day Philly cheesesteak was invented and served.
Where to Eat the Best Philly Cheesesteak?
Since the 1940s, there have been numerous other spots in Philly that claim to serve the very best cheesesteak in the city. And, when it comes to the best, it truly depends on your taste preferences. Some places stick to the bare basics and some have put a modern, inventive spin on the already delicious dish.
Geno’s Steaks, for example (the largest direct competitor of Pat’s King of Steaks), serves theirs with thinly sliced rib-eye steak for maximum juiciness. Woodrow’s Sandwich Shop, however, serves theirs with shaved ribeye, caramelised onions, and an irresistible truffle-flavoured cheese whiz.
So, as you can see, for any cheese lover, sampling all of the best cheesesteaks in Philadelphia is a long and arduous task. If you’re looking to fast-track your foodie experience, you can check out what are widely-regarded as the top five. This includes Pat’s King of Steaks, Geno’s Steaks, Tony Luke’s, Jim’s Steaks and Cleavers.
Funding a Cheese Addiction
If this has inspired you to plan a foodie trip to Philadelphia just to indulge in some of the city’s tastiest Philly cheesesteaks then you’ll need to start saving now. Fueling and funding a cheese addiction is no easy task. But, it can be if you have the right savings tools and debit card.
Cheese is a kind of food, but it also refers to money in slang. And, Cheese, when capitalized, is our 100% free cashback debit card with saving interest and cashback. You see, when you order something “whiz with” with us, we’re assuming you’re interested in getting absolutely loaded up with cheese...er, cash.
And, that’s exactly what we’ll help you do. It’s why our FDIC-insured debit card comes with cashback and savings bonus. Earn more cheese so you can eat more cheese? It doesn’t get much better.
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